CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is celebrating its work in the Charlottesville community while raising money to further its efforts.

On Wednesday, June 5, the nonprofit held its annual benefit event at Kardinal Hall.

Wednesday night’s event featured Virginia’s 42nd District Delegate Kathy Tran as the keynote speaker.

She knows firsthand what it’s like to be a refugee, and she shared her story of coming to the United States as a refugee in 1979 and how it has shaped her career as a state lawmaker.

“We're really here to help them succeed,” Harriet Kuhr, the executive director of the IRC in Charlottesville, said.

The IRC’s Charlottesville chapter is celebrating all of its life-changing work assisting immigrants and refugees while raising money to ensure that aid can continue for years to come.

“It’s our opportunity to share with the community our work and the stories of the refugees we work with,” Kuhr said.

The nonprofit helps refugees integrate into the community, find jobs, learn English, and explore education.

“We have a lot of programming that helps people integrate and adapt to our society and really find ways to maximize their potential here in the U.S.,” Kuhr said.

Delegate Tran’s family fled Vietnam in 1979 and received help from the IRC upon arrival in Los Angeles.

“My family and I came to this country as boat refugees from Vietnam when I was almost two years old,” Tran said.

Tran shared her unusual journey of immigration to writing state legislation at Wednesday’s event.

“I decided to run for office in 2017 because the values of hope, opportunity, and freedom that my parents had risked our lives for were under threat,” Tran said.

She applauds the IRC’s work and hopes to use her platform to help other families like hers.

“Part of my background is in workforce development and immigration advocacy, and so making sure I pull on that experience and my lived experience as a former refugee to ensure that we do everything we can to be more welcoming and inclusive of immigrants and refugees in Virginia,” Tran said.

All of the proceeds from Wednesday night’s event will go toward the IRC’s continuing efforts to help immigrants and refugees right here in Charlottesville.

If you would like to learn more about the nonprofit’s mission or donate to the cause, click here.